Challenge

In 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called on the world to educate the hearts – and not just the minds – of children. In 2013, UX for Good took up his challenge in partnership with The Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Designers spent two days observing practice and absorbing theory on child development and contemplative practice – in elementary schools, in university and at Heart-Mind 2013, a conference for practitioners in the field.

The positive impact of mindfulness programs on children’s health, behavior and academic performance was both readily apparent and substantiated by rigorous scientific study. Teachers who had integrated mindfulness into lesson plans and classroom management were overwhelmingly supportive of expanding the programs.

So why wasn’t mindfulness part of learning for every child?

Solution

Designers discovered there were two primary obstacles to broad adoption of mindfulness programs in schools. First, mindfulness training was competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of “magic bullet” solutions to challenges in public education — making it very unlikely that school districts and administrators would champion the cause. Second, mindfulness training was a relatively expensive proposition. Program licenses and related materials were pricey, limiting the number of school districts that could afford them.

Champions would have to come – not from the administrative ranks – by from teachers themselves. Also, program costs would have to be dramatically reduced if teachers were to persuade their colleagues to give mindfulness a try.

The designers’ answer was the “Heart-Shaped Toolbox,” a collection of digital tools that allow and encourage teachers to share mindfulness best practices — readings, activities, materials, research and support — with fellow teachers for free. This greatly increases the odds that believers – classroom teachers with first-hand experience of the positive impact of mindfulness programs – can convert the uninitiated. The Toolbox was supplemented by designers’ ideas for engaging school’ communities and extending mindfulness training to parents.

In 2014, The Dalai Lama Center began work on Heart-Mind Online — a rebranded version of the Toolbox.

Partners

Dalai Lama Center
Insight Labs

Designers

Dan Saimo

Dan Saimo

Visual Systems Team Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

    Wil Kristin

    Wil Kristin

    Strategy/Community Lead, Context Partners (Portland)

      Patrick DiMichele

      Patrick DiMichele

      Interaction Design Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

        Lee-Sean Huang

        Lee-Sean Huang

        Designer and Educator (New York)

          Judy Siegel

          Judy Siegel

          Sr. UX Designer, CNN Digital (Atlanta)

            Davide Casali

            Davide Casali

            Head of Design, Dachis Group (London)

              Greg Melander

              Greg Melander

              Sr. Experience Design Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

                Marie-Claire Dean

                Marie-Claire Dean

                Lead Product Designer, Atlassian (Sydney)

                  Brian Winters

                  Brian Winters

                  Design Research Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                    Jason Kunesh

                    Jason Kunesh

                    UX Director, Obama for America (Chicago)

                      Emily Luke

                      Emily Luke

                      Designer and Researcher, ThoughtWorks (SF)

                        Carolyn Chandler

                        Carolyn Chandler

                        UX Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                          Organizers

                          Jeff Leitner

                          Jeff Leitner

                          Dean, Insight Labs

                            Jason Ulaszek

                            Jason Ulaszek

                            Founder, UX for Good / EVP, Experience Design, Manifest Digital

                              Provocateurs

                              Howell Malham

                              Howell Malham

                              Co-Founder, Insight Labs

                                Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                                Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                                Director, Insight Labs

                                  Chris Kelly

                                  Chris Kelly

                                  Senior Consultant, Dalai Lama Center

                                    Yarrow Kraner

                                    Yarrow Kraner

                                    Founder, HATCH Experience

                                      Brad Smith

                                      Brad Smith

                                      Executive Director, WebVisions

                                        Jim Jacoby

                                        Jim Jacoby

                                        Founder, ADMCi

                                          Sponsors

                                          Bing
                                          RiverRock Partners
                                          SCE
                                          ADMCi
                                          positivity
                                          intel
                                          HATCH